Urban Land Changes as the Interaction Between Self-Organization and Institutions

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There is interest among planners in autonomous behaviour and non-linear processes supporting urban development. Self-organization has attracted attention as a potential driver for urban transformations. This paper aims to explore the mechanisms behind urban land use patterns resulting from the interdependence of self-organization and institutions. Our argument is based on an empirical study of two land development cases in urban Beijing. The paper argues that urban land transformations include characteristics of symmetry breaks, self-organizing processes, unintended collective behaviour and spontaneous patterns while simultaneously being institutionally framed. The interdependence between self-organization and institutional rules builds upon a circular causality framework at various spatial levels.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)160-178
Number of pages19
JournalPlanning, Practice & Research
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 26-Feb-2015

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